November 16, 2015 |
What's so exciting about the region's current brewpub boom? The sheer diversity of the movement. Yes, the area's corporate pioneers are still thriving. But the indie newcomers have gone well beyond the familiar templates, with quirky concepts in unlikely locales, from far-flung strip malls to bike paths along the river, colonial inns, emerging city neighborhoods, and vibrant suburban main streets. Some have full kitchens. Others make the most of crock pots, induction burners, and a panini press.
June 7, 2007
To say the Sidecar Bar & Grille is "on a roll" would just trivialize with a cheap pun what chef Rich Freedman and owner Adam Ritter are doing in their gastro-pub near Graduate Hospital in South Philly. Freedman, working in a tiny kitchen, turns out scratch charcuterie - Cajun sausage made of raw pork and pork liver, chorizo, Tasso ham, country pate, and hickory-and-alder-smoked knackwurst. Take the knackwurst, which comes with a salad and homemade sauerkraut. At $9.95, it's not the cheapest sandwich around.
May 13, 2016
Since a change in the kitchen early this year at SouthGate, new chef David Feola has been trying to coax the menu at this Korean-theme gastropub at 18th and Lombard a little farther away from the deep fryer. Wing fans shouldn't fret. The crackly crisp and meaty birds slicked in sweet and spicy sauces here aren't going anywhere. But there's definitely been a push toward some more interesting dishes from the longtime former Vernick sous-chef. A seared snapper over jalapeño-edamame puree is one example.
December 17, 2009
The ever-improving Sidecar Bar, a pioneering gastropub in Graduate Hospital, took another step forward this fall with the addition of chef Brian Lofink. Formerly co-chef at Matyson off Rittenhouse Square, Lofink hasn't upscaled Sidecar's inventive bar fare so much as tweaked it with better ingredients. His nachos - usually a dish I dread - were an irresistible example. The gooey jack cheese has been replaced with a genuine Mexican melter - asadero. The salsa, a green tomatillo zinger studded with pineapple, jalapeño, and cilantro, was inspired by Lofink's brief stint with Bobby Flay.
June 4, 2012 |
Just because "Alla Spina" means "from the tap" doesn't mean those taps only stream with beer. At Marc Vetri's new gastropub, there are also plans to start pouring kegged local wines on draft sometime soon. But while the official details are still being ironed out, beverage director Steve Wildy decided to make good use of his Cornelius homebrewer soda kegs to start pouring Negroni cocktails on draft, too. This classic Italian cocktail of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin (Bluecoat in my house)
May 28, 2009
There is mystery and magnetism to a cheese that won't melt, but instead turns golden and crispy on the griddle. And I've always been drawn to such grillers, like Cypriot haloumi, brandy-flamed Greek saganaki, or smoked Italian scamorza. My new favorite, though, is queso fresco from El Abuelito, a North Jersey producer making Mexican cheese in the Puebla style. Queso fresco is soft, fresh and salty (which prevents oozing under heat), and comes as a compressed cake of grainy curds that resembles a dry ricotta.